What I learned at Ski School
If you’re anything like me, you probably haven’t taken ski lessons since you were legally required to wear a car seat while driving to the mountain with mom and dad. Well, that’s all changed for me now, after taking ski lessons as an adult here at Breckenridge Ski Resort. You can now call me a ski school believer, and I would take another lesson in a heartbeat. Here’s why.
I met up with my ski instructor, Randy, at 10 a.m. at the Vista Haus on Peak 8. Randy is the teacher’s teacher – he’s been instructing for over 30 years, is a Breck local and knows the mountain like the back of his hand. He asked me what my interests are and what I liked to do outside of work. I immediately replied, ‘I love to get in a good yoga class.”
His next question: What are you looking to get out of taking classes? “For one,” I replied, “I’d like to gain technique and rhythm, and not injure myself.”
“Very good. Let’s get to work.”
The first order of business was having Randy observe me ski. I took off from the base of the Vista Haus and continued down Springmeier. Randy following close behind. Once at the bottom of the run, he told me, “You’re not afraid of speed, but we do have a few things to focus on.”
I was used to making my body tense in order to gain stability, and therefore exerting way more energy than necessary. One of Randy’s teachings is to use less energy, but have more fun. I desperately wanted to know the secret. Randy took my interest (practicing yoga) and related it to a ski technique. He told me, “As your body can move with strength and flexibility while practicing yoga, the same is true for skiing. You can move with fluid movements while maintaining strength – which is also a lot like Tai Chi.”
Randy acquired a piece of a 2 by 4 to implement another important ski lesson. He had me stand on the wooden stake, laid flat on the snow. I put the arches of my feet in the center of the stick, and with Randy’s direction, I isolated my lower body from my upper body by pivoting my legs. The goal was to keep my upper body aimed straight forward while turning my lower body to each side, as if linking turns with ease down the mountain. It was enlightening to feel how to best move and turn down the mountain.
I kept looking down at my skis during exercises, thinking that somehow it would help me to complete the exercises. Randy assured me earlier in the day to keep my head up and stay alert. “Make sure your vision and where you’re looking is appropriate for what you’re doing. If you’re in the trees, if you’re in the moguls or on the groom, where you look will play a role on how it is that your visual field and your brain work together to create the movements for successful skiing,” he told me.
On my final run down the mountain with Randy, I felt like I finally found my ski rhythm. The ski lesson was a complete success and I feel I’ve gained not only more confidence, but better ski technique that will keep me on the slopes and my body (knees!) healthy. I enjoyed how Randy catered his ski teachings to my personality and interests, and how helpful and insightful he was during the entire lesson.